Skipper Samuel Ricketts believes he is set to play on for a good few years yet – and also says Wolves should not fear the trials and tribulations of the Sky Bet Championship.
At 32, Ricketts is the most experienced member of the Wolves squad, but Head Coach Kenny Jackett has already suggested that the versatile defender has plenty left in his locker, and hopefully at Molineux beyond the expiry of his current contract this time next year.
Ricketts is equally keen to continue to play for as long as possible, and indeed evolve and use the experience he has built up in all four of the English divisions.
“On a personal level I need to perform as well or even better than I ever have done,” he says.
“I need to keep pushing myself to do better all the time.
“My game may change slightly but you evolve as a player as you gain more experience and understand the game better.
“For me it’s about using that experience and trying to improve and also helping the young lads as well and ultimately the team.
“I’d like to think I can play on for a good few years yet.
“I have always kept myself in good shape from the time I was a teenager.
“I have always had the right nutrition, got myself the right treatment and tried to look after myself.
“Hopefully I am starting to see the rewards of that now.
“You see some players get into their early 30s and some retire or others fall away – I am trying to buck the trend and go the other way.
“I feel very good physically and my fitness scoring is better than what it was a year ago.
“On the physical side I feel in better shape than I was last year and I need to be as well.”
Having broken several records enroute to the Sky Bet League One title last season, Ricketts is realistic enough to realise that the Championship is an entirely different proposition for Wolves.
But given it is so competitive, he believes that while respecting the challenge of so many established teams in the second tier, there is no reason not to target being in and around the top six come next May.
“Promotion was the goal last year and it is the same again this year,” says Ricketts.
“Getting back into the Premier League is one of the biggest prizes in football.
“Obviously it is a big ask but that is where our thoughts are and this is a big opportunity for a young side.
“Clearly I hope I’m wrong but getting back into the Championship it is unlikely we are going to go on such a long unbeaten run or winning streak.
“If you could do that in the Championship you could run away with the league!
“You have to be realistic and think we will probably lose more games than we did last year.
“It is such a tight league – Reading got promoted one year having been bottom of the table in October/November time.
“It is about broadening our horizons a little bit and realising that if we lose a couple of games then we shouldn’t get too down and equally if we win two or there that we haven’t ‘made it’.
“It is a tough league when three wins could take you from mid table into the play-offs.
“Ten to 12 teams are often involved in the promotion race in February/March time and we have to do all we can to make sure we are in there and then see what happens.”
One area where Ricketts and company are keen to continue from last season is in the style of football played in winning the title.
Producing such possession-based football on a higher stage will be a challenge, but it is one which the captain believes will get the support of the fanbase who backed the team all the way last season.
“We want to play football and we want to make it exciting to watch,” he added.
“It’s not going to be as easy for us to control games as we did last year because we will be competing against some very good sides.
“There will be days when it doesn’t work just as there will be days when it does and we just have to remain positive and I am sure the fans will see what we are trying to do.
“How does that motto go? Out of Darkness cometh light. We might have a few dark moments when we get beat this year but everyone remains positive and heading in the same direction that’s the biggest thing, especially for young players to make sure they don’t lose their confidence.”